Thursday, July 21, 2011

one pot

One of the things that I love about raku is the total unpredictably of what is going to happen to the glaze in the bin with paper. Sometimes one side of a particular pot may look totally different from another.
One of Bill's pot was such a pot.

Don't they look different?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The rest of the yarn bowls

And, here are the rest of my yarn bowls. I wasn't sure which profile I would like the best and so I threw several different styles as well as hand built a couple of different styles.

A couple of them turned out to be seconds, which in Pottery world means that there is a flaw or two, but it is still functional.

Oh yes, there is one more of which I have yet to get a picture. The yarn bowl in question was my third favorite one and given to a very dear friend who promised to take a picture and send it to me. You know who you are!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bill's production

Here are the pots that Bill made during the raku workshop. I am sure that he will have something to say about them.

This one is about 13 inches across the rim

The bottom of this is what is called "naked Raku" where you put slip on the bare pot and glaze over top of the slip and the idea is that the carbon from the burning paper doesn't penetrate where the slip and the glaze are. Except that this one dried too fast and a lot of the slip fell off.

Here is a hand built pot not unlike my yarn bowl. Only larger.
This is a test piece mug. The idea was to mask out portions of the clay before you applied the glaze and you would get black areas.
A two tone vase.
What we call the Ming Vase. More on this one later.
And another naked raku. This one was much more successful.

It is really hot here and I am so glad that I am not firing raku today. It would be brutal!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raku 2011

This summer I was brave enough to take another raku course. Raku is a kind of pottery that is fired to it's final glaze temperature rather quickly. The clay is made to withstand relatively quick temperature changes.

You start by throwing or hand building your pots. I was really interested in making some yarn bowls. I threw some on the wheel and hand built a few. The clay that we were using was really too stiff. The teacher was rather upset with the supplier for sending the wrong blend of raku clay. It was so stiff that I ended up ripping some skin off of my hands on the first day. Which is why I  ended up doing some hand building.

Bill also took the class with me. He enrolled in a pottery class last winter and really liked it. I knew the teacher of the raku class and thought that Bill would learn a lot from him so I basically forced him into taking the class by getting it for him for his birthday.

After the pots have been bisqued (which is to fire them in a kiln to a low temperature to drive off the excess moisture and make them firm so they don't come apart when they get a bit wet) you put the glaze on them and put them into a kiln. The kiln is them brought up to the melting point of the glaze which is somewhere between hot and stinking hot depending on the weather. We had a hot windless day and so it was stinking hot.
The next day we went to the teachers place where he had a river nearby as well as a cover over his raku kiln.
And we turned the kiln on to fire. The pots on the top were put there to dry a little more. Because of having to put pots into a hot kiln, they needed to be warmed up just a little bit before hand or the clay and glaze may pop and explode a bit. NOT what you are looking for!

And then you wait around for about 45 minutes while the kiln comes up to temperature. Beer may be involved. So may munchies.
When the pots come out of the kiln, They are put into a metal garbage bin with a base of wood chips and some newspapers. The cover is put on and they are left to cool down some for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The pot is then plunged into a bucket of water and scrubbed to remove the carbon on the surface.
Here are two of my pots. I focused mainly on yarn bowls and these were my two favorites.
 Here they are a little blurred but the colour is about right.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Summer Studio

Seeing as it is officially summer, and summer generally means that we are going to spend a bit of time at the lake, and seeing as the official list of "ToDo's" is much, much, much shorter at the lake (at least for me), This year I decided to move a bit of my studio there. My little Dorset loom folds up to be quite small and seeing as space is at a premium at the lake, it is a perfect fit. When I want to weave, I open it up and set it up on the porch.

On the weekend I manged to warp up and weave off 4 silk scarves. I have three more warps ready to go and if I keep up this production level I will need to make and dye some more warps. And soon!
And the view is spectacular.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Spinning Weekend!

Last weekend a small group of spinners (and knitters) who usually meet up at the Spinning Retreat decided to get together for a mini retreat. Spearheaded by the energetic Steph, she contacted us, found the perfect accommodations on the Kingston Peninsula in New Brunswick at Adair Cabins and organized people into meal preparation groups.

My Retreat Buddy, Sarah, and I set off after kissing kids a happy last day of school and only managed to take one wrong turn. This is actually a record for us. Usually we take at least two, and on the odd occasion more. The fault usually lies with google maps directions and surprisingly enough, Lady Gaga. This time the missed turnoff was smack in the middle of a construction zone with lots of dust. Lady Gaga was also present.

Because the peninsula is a peninsula and we were approaching it from a way that necessitated crossing water, we were treated to a ferry ride. There are a number of ferries in New Brunswick that are part of the highway system and at this time they are all free. The crossing only takes a couple of minutes.
Ferry on the way

Our cabin was called the Deer Run
After a quick stop off at our friend Liz's place, we continued on to Adair's. There are 5 log cabins smack in the middle of the woods. Our group was small enough (or big enough) to have 3 cabins. Steph and Janet had the one with the biggest common room and so it was decided that we would spend the majority of our spinning and hanging out time there.
The place where we spent most of our time

We would also eat there.
Sunday Breakfast

I was actually rather amazed to see that a couple of the cabins were of different construction techniques.
Flat cut log cabin. Note the cell phone on a "shelf"
Round cut log cabin

On Saturday, we went down to the "shelter" which had a kitchen where we could do some dyeing.
Dyeing in the kitchen

There was also plenty of room to spread out and a comfy couch for the knitter to curl up on.

I helped a couple of people to dye with my acid dyes. There was also some people that were using Wilson Cake dyes! The colours did totally unpredictable things! I had no idea what to expect out of that pot! There was also someone with Gaywool dyes. Again, something new for me. The colours were beautiful. The Moncton crew were dyeing fools and by the end of the weekend their front porch looked like it was decked out for a party with all of the coloured fleece! I didn't get a picture but I did get one of Sarah's and my sleeping accommodations. The beds were super comfortable and for once there were enough blankets on the bed!
Our bedroom

Because we were in the middle of the woods, and because it was a particularly wet weekend, there were more than a couple of slugs around. In fact, it looked like a slug convention! Walking between cabins became a game of dodge the slugs. Sadly more than one slug lost the game and ended up being unwittingly tracked into the cabins. Ick.
Big Slug.

There were 12 of us and meals were easily divided into 4 meals with 3 people contributing to each leaving Friday night as a free for all potluck. Needless to say the food was amazing and I regularly ate too much.

I managed to get three skeins spun in slubby form to transform into scarves to hopefully sell.

Piggy Navigator.
And with Piggy on the dash, we made it safely home with no wrong turns! Here he is looking out at the ramp on the ferry on the return trip.

I was sorry to leave on Sunday morning, but we all declared the weekend a huge success and are going to try again next year.